LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — With the Washington Redskins trailing the Baltimore Ravens by eight late in regulation, Robert Griffin III sprained his right knee at the end of a 13-yard scramble. He left for one play, returned for four but was literally hopping around on the field.
Eventually, he fell to the turf and could no longer continue.
Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins stepped in and finished RG3’s work, hitting Pierre Garcon for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds remaining and then running in the 2-point conversion. Yet another rookie, Richard Crawford, returned a punt 64 yards in overtime to set up Kai Forbath’s 34-yard field goal to give Washington a 31-28 victory.
The Redskins (7-6) won their fourth straight game, putting more pressure on the New York Giants in the race for the NFC East title. The Ravens (9-4) missed an opportunity to clinch an AFC playoff berth and ended a 15-game winning streak following a loss, dropping back-to-back games for the first time since 2009.
Griffin completed 15 of 26 passes for 246 yards with one touchdown and ran seven times for 34 yards. Cousins was a clutch 2 for 2 — back-to-back to Leonard Hankerson for 15 yards and 11 yards to Garcon for the score after Griffin left the second time.
The Ravens got the ball to start overtime but went three-and-out. Crawford, getting a chance to handle punts for the first time after a disappointing set of games from Brandon Banks, had the big return to Baltimore’s 24-yard line, putting the Redskins easily within the range of Forbath, who hasn’t missed in 14 attempts in his debut NFL season.
Another major Redskins rookie contributor was Alfred Morris, who ran for 122 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown.
Joe Flacco completed 16 of 21 passes for 182 yards for the Ravens, who took a 28-20 lead on Ray Rice’s 7-yard touchdown run with 4:47 to play.
Rice finished with 121 yards on 20 carries, and third-round pick Pierce had a season-high 53 yards. Anquan Boldin, who passed the 10,000-yard receiving mark, caught two touchdown passes and set up a third with a 28-yard catch-and-tiptoe-run down the sideline.
Griffin was coming off quite a week — including a Monday night win over the Giants and a donation of his jersey and cleats to the Hall of Fame for breaking the NFL single-season record for rushing yards by a rookie quarterback — but both he and Flacco struggled after halftime as both defenses buckled down after a breakneck first half.
After 15 minutes of play, Washington already had 186 yards — the most by any NFL team in the first quarter this season and the most by the franchise since 1997. The Ravens led 21-14 at halftime, but a pair of turnovers by Flacco were converted into field goals to pull the Redskins within one.
Follow Joseph White on Twitter: http://twitter.com/JGWhiteAP